CALIFORNIA CITY — The City Council is seeking interested candidates for appointment to the Council seat left vacant by the sudden resignation of Mayor Pro Tem Gene Stump last month.

Those interested should submit a letter of intent to City Clerk Denise Hilliker at City Hall, 21000 Hacienda Blvd., by Feb. 7.

A resume or other similar background information is also suggested.

The four remaining members of the Council will meet in a special public meeting on Feb. 15 to interview the candidates and make the appointment.

The Council decided Tuesday to appoint someone to fill the remainder of Stump’s term, to December, rather than hold an expensive special election.

Stump, who was elected to office in 2016, resigned via a letter to Hilliker on Dec, 27, effective that day.

Under state law, the Council has 60 days to make an appointment to fill the vacancy, or to call a special election.

While no one advocated for holding a special election, which was estimated to cost $25,000 to $50,000 the last time the Council considered the issue in July, a number of residents and Council members spoke in favor of an open appointment process.

The Council has broad discretion as to how to make the appointment, City Attorney Christian Bettenhausen said in the staff report, including the ability to make an appointment immediately on Tuesday should members agree to it.

That idea was widely opposed in favor of the process used by the Council in appointing Councilmember Ron Smith in July, with public interviews of the candidates before the Council makes its choice.

“That seems a little ludicrous to me,” Planning Commission Chairman Jim Creighton said of making an immediate appointment. “This City Council has already made one appointment this term and they should follow that format once again.”

“The Council has set a precedent with the last appointment … and you saw how many residents came to listen to that,” resident Karen Macedonio said, suggesting using a script of questions for each candidate to answer with some kind of scoring. “This is really something that the city’s interested in and we would at least like to hear the applicants.”

Smith, having been through the process himself about six months ago, said he appreciated being able to speak to the Council and public.

“I think the public should have a say-so, especially if we’re doing an appointment,” Mayor Chuck McGuire said.

While the format was announced Tuesday, the vacancy will not be officially posted until next week. Hilliker asked that those who had already sent letters of intent to City Hall in case an appointment process was approved to please resubmit their intentions now that it is open to all.

Also at Tuesday’s Council meeting, Councilmember Donald Parris was named as mayor pro tem, following the procedures of the city’s municipal code.

He will serve in the role until the end of McGuire’s term in December.

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